18.1 Mission and Purpose of .BOFA
18.1.1 Bank of America Corporation
Bank of America Corporation (“Bank of America”) is one of the worldʹs largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 57 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,700 retail banking offices and approximately 17,750 ATMs and an award winning online banking system with 30 million active users.
Bank of America is among the worldʹs leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions, and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 4 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Bank of America’s Online Banking is an Internet-based service that provides a safe and convenient way for customers to manage their money. With Online Banking, customers can view account balances, transfer funds, send service requests to the bank and more. Plus, optional Bill Pay allows customers to pay bills in minutes from one simple site.
18.1.2 Mission and Purpose
Bank of America intends to submit one gTLD application for the string .BOFA. NMS Services Inc., (“NMS Services”) a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America, will be the entity to file this application and bring the .BOFA gTLD to market.
The intended mission and purpose of the .BOFA gTLD is to serve as a trusted and intuitive namespace for the benefit of Bank of Americaʹs and its qualified subsidiaries’ and affiliates’ customers and other Internet users, that will deepen and broaden these entities’ relationships with those audiences.
Although ICANN has not specifically recognized a .BRAND gTLD specification in the current gTLD application round, it is widely anticipated in the brand-owner community that this will become a specialty subset of the gTLDs. The .BOFA gTLD is intended to be one of those .BRAND gTLDs, with the goal of protecting Bank of America’s online presence and identity, expanding its marketing and promotion efforts, providing a secure channel for online products and services, and offering a platform through which to consolidate many of the intellectual property activities of Bank of America.
NMS Services intends to initially limit registration and use of domain names within the .BOFA gTLD to Bank of America and its qualified subsidiaries, affiliates, and business units. This initial limited use will allow NMS Services to establish .BOFAʹs operations and achieve full sustainability. This limited distribution coupled with the other requirements set forth in Specification 9 of the template Registry Agreement is intended to exempt NMS Services from its annual Code of Conduct Compliance requirements.
After the initial stages of operation, NMS Services will evaluate whether opportunities exist to carry out the business strategy for the gTLD through expansion that continues the sustainable operations of the registry through fee-based registrations to parties other than Bank of America and its qualified subsidiaries, affiliates, and business units.
NMS Services currently plans a four-stage rollout for the .BOFA gTLD:
The initial stage of implementation of the gTLD will involve Bank of America registering a limited number of .BOFA second-level domain names. This initial use will provide Bank of America’s IT and security personnel the time to run a number of tests to ensure seamless and secure access using the .BOFA gTLD domain names, interoperability with various software and Web-based applications, and unbroken and secure use of all names. This initial allocation will also allow the appropriate NMS Services staff to coordinate with the internal and external staff responsible for the delegation and setup phases of the .BOFA gTLD to ensure a proper transition from delegation to full operation.
Once all testing has been successfully completed, NMS Services will begin allocating domain names in the .BOFA gTLD for more widespread corporate use. During this same time period, Bank of America will begin evaluating strategies to potentially migrate traffic away from its current patchwork network of second-level domain names, which are registered in a variety of TLDs, to NMS Services’ new gTLD.
It is in Stage Two that Bank of America may evaluate expanding the operations of the .BOFA gTLD to permit registration by other registrants, such as select licensees or strategic partners. Should an assessment of its expansion strategy lead to a decision to extend registration rights to other parties, this expansion is currently planned to take place in Stage Three. However, any expansion would be conditioned upon a review of Specification 9 (Registry Code of Conduct) set forth in the template Registry Agreement to ensure compliance with NMS Services’ business model.
Depending on the analysis of the evaluations undertaken in Stage Two, Bank of America may implement the permanent migration of Internet traffic away from the TLDs in which Bank of America’s domain names are currently registered, and toward the new NMS Services gTLD. It is in this stage that NMS Services also may implement Bank of America’s decision to extend registration rights to licensees or strategic partners, depending upon compliance with Specification 9, as noted above. The dates of such expansion are subject to change depending upon business, strategic, and industry factors at the time.
After consideration of the following factors: analysis of Bank of America’s existing domain name portfolio; internal analysis of marketing initiatives; and the fact that Bank of America will have full control over the number of registrations in the .BOFA gTLD namespace, NMS Services is confident that the number of domain name registrations will be less than 10,000 in the first five years of operation.
Based on their experiences with any expansion implemented in Stage Three, NMS Services and Bank of America will assess whether their business plan and expansion strategy should be augmented by extending registration rights to a broader class of licensees, including potential customers of Bank of America. It is anticipated by Bank of America that changes to the domain name industry, and particularly the impact of .BRAND gTLDs, will take at least five years to be realized and assessed. Any decision to expand the gTLDs beyond corporate, qualified subsidiary⁄affiliate⁄business unit, and licensee⁄partner use will take into account this experience as well as the technical analysis of potential expansion.
Bank of America intends to use the .BOFA gTLD in ways that are consistent with the business strategies of itself or its other business segments as identified in its annual report and investor filings, see http:⁄⁄investor.bankofamerica.com.
Utilizing current projections based upon Bank of America’s existing and future business plans, current domain name portfolio, and other strategic factors, NMS Services estimates second-level domain name registrations to be in line with the projections set forth in the Financial Template provided in the response to Question 46 of this application.